Earthrace heads for the Red Sea

Earthrace in Oman
The 24 metre bio-diesel fuelled wave piercing trimaran Earthrace is now speeding south down the Yemeni coast at 22-23 knots, heading for the Red Sea on Day 53 of its quest to smash the Cable & Wireless 1998 powerboat round the world record of just seven minutes less than 75 days.

On April 27th Earthrace powered out of the Vulkan shipyard in Sagunto, north of Valencia in Spain on her second attempt to set a new world record. Today her New Zealand skipper Pete Bethune reported at 1235GMT, she was 19,782 nautical miles into the 23,700 mile circumnavigation and 2,560 miles ahead of the British record holder's pace.

Monsoonal winds pounded Earthrace on the 1,387 mile leg from Kochi (Cochin) in India and the weather conditions took a toll on the boat and her crew.

She thundered into Salalah Oman at 0500 GMT today and refuelled in less than 90 minutes, but the race crew was plainly exhausted and they took a shower and ate a meal before heading back to sea five hours later.

Ahead, the monsoonal winds are expected to continue to slow Earthrace, however the team is facing a larger issue. On the Palau to Singapore leg Earthrace suffered a tear to the outer hull, near the bow, after hitting floating logs.

During the haul out in Singapore a quick composite repair was made to the hull tear but during the last rough leg much of the repair tore loose, exposing the inner hull again. This is a potentially serious issue as stresses produced during wave piercing in heavy seas will strain the sandwich construction.

The team changed the oil in the gearboxes during the Oman stop and found fine metal particles in the gearbox, from the side that suffered damage in Palau.

A similar amount of metal contamination was found in the oil after last year’s accident in Guatemala. The gearbox has a manual override and the team is carrying a spare gearbox if needed, but so far the luck has held.

Also Tino de Freitas, from Cummins Engines, reports his 'fix' on the gearbox oil leak into the biodiesel, on the port gearbox, is holding. This is amazing as that single leak has plagued Earthrace since her original building.

The latest sat. phone report from Earthrace below